Hedges is a motivational speaker and was conducting a weekend seminar in Orlando, Florida, where His wife, Debbie, joined him Saturday evening. On her way back to their home in St. Petersburg the next day, she stopped for gas at a convenient store and bought three lottery tickets.
When she returned home Debbie placed the tickets by the Sunday paper on the kitchen counter and began preparing a meal for dinner guests.
Later when Burke came home, he picked up the Sunday paper and began checking the tickets against the winning number. The first ticket only had two correct numbers. The second ticket was a total bust with no winning numbers.
However, as he began checking the third ticket, Hedges said he felt “the hair starting to rise on the back of my neck.” He read the numbers once. 7-14-18-47-27 Then again. His pulse quickened.
Hedges said his hands were literally trembling, as he shouted WE WON THE LOTTERY. Leaping from his chair, he screamed “WE WON $86 MILLION DOLLARS. WE’RE RICH. WE WON. WE WON.
As Burke was hollering and jumping around the room like a human pogo stick, he realized something was wrong. He was the only one celebrating. Debbie was laughing. His friend Jake was pounding the wall laughing hysterically.
Then Debbie explained. When she bought the tickets the winning lottery numbers had already been announced. So, she bought a ticket with the exact same numbers to play a practical joke on her husband.
Embarrassed, Hedged wrote, “I flopped down in my chair feeling like a total idiot.” He’d fallen for the joke…hook, line sinker.
But as the laugher subsided, he shouted with mock seriousness, “Hold on a minute.” The room got very quiet. Then he said, “I want you to realize that I”m the only one in this room who knows what it really feels like to win $86 million dollars”
While our feelings, as we wrote yesterday, are God-given, and can be good, this story reminds us that we can experience strong emotions, yet be mistaken, misguided or misinformed.
The Bible is filled with several accounts of people feeling something was so, when it really wasn’t.
Genesis 27 relates the account of Rebekah conspiring with her son Jacob to receive the blessing and birthright that belonged to his older brother, Esau. Then she put goatskins on his hands and the back of his neck. And prepared the savory food Isaac liked.
Jacob then went to Isaac, who was old with failing eyesight and claimed to be Esau. He smelled like Esau. When Isaac touched his hands he felt like Esau. So Isaac pronounced the blessing on Jacob while feeling like it was Esau. Isaac was misguided by his feelings.
Later in life, Jacob’s sons would deceive him into thinking his favorite son Joseph was killed by a wild animal when they actually had sold him as a slave to some Midianite traders. Yet Joseph was alive. He landed in Egypt. And eventually rose to a place of prominence and power.
However, Jacob felt anguish, grief, and deep sorrow. The Bible says he refused to be comforted. His feelings were just as real as if Joseph was dead.
Modern psychology tells us that our feelings can’t be wrong because they are our feelings. The lyrics of an old country song opine “It can’t be wrong when it feels so right.” Actually, what we feel can be wrong.
It’s possible for our feelings to override reality. Obscure truth. Impede rational thought. And reject God’s Word. To paraphrase the wise man, “There is a way that feels right unto a man, but its end is the way of death” (Prov. 14:12).
Just because something feels good, doesn’t mean it is good. Or right. Or accurate.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman